Improvements in City Government Performance Reporting

11 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2009 Last revised: 18 Mar 2009

See all articles by Ken Smith

Ken Smith

School Accountability Group

Ottalee Schiffel

Valparaiso University

Date Written: March 3, 2009


Performance activities, including external reporting, remain a hot topic among policy-makers, standard-setters, government managers and citizens. While there is still a long way to go, the quality and quantity of city performance reporting has improved substantially over the past 10 years. We compare the reports of 121 large cities to a study of 200 state agencies. The quality of the city and state reports are very similar with about 1% of the reports reaching high quality and over 30% of the reports making notable progress. The quantity of city reports is much lower with less than 40% of city departments reporting online vs. over 90% of state departments. We discuss four recent developments with the potential to increase reporting quality and quantity: 1) expanded recognition of quality reports, 2) a new "preparer-friendly" website, 3) initiatives by several national associations, and 4) ongoing guidance and support from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.

Keywords: Performance Reporting, Accountability, GASB, Government, City, Service Efforts and Accomplishments

JEL Classification: L32, M41, P17

Suggested Citation

Smith, Kenneth A. and Schiffel, Ottalee, Improvements in City Government Performance Reporting (March 3, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Kenneth A. Smith (Contact Author)

School Accountability Group ( email )

5819 Sorrento St
Salem, OR 97306
United States
503-428-0994 (Phone)

Ottalee Schiffel

Valparaiso University ( email )

Valparaiso, IN 46383
United States
219-464-6788 (Phone)
219-464-5789 (Fax)

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